All This Twilight


So, now that Twilight fever has died down just a bit up until the release of Breaking Dawn Part 2 in November, I feel like it’s a good time to talk about how I feel about the franchise. This gets another one of those token controversial topic stickers that I am backtracking through my blog slapping on posts that get everybody up in arms. (Nudge nudge — Chick-Fil-A, “Real Worship Music,” Churches, etc…)

 

The following post is my opinion on the Twilight franchise. It’s not some kind of critique of all four books, it’s a look at what the franchise is and what it has accomplished for the medium of books. It is NOT a male empowered hate-session where I mindlessly bash Twilight because it is the socially acceptable thing to do. Actually, you will find me taking Twilight’s side a lot more than even I thought I would before sitting down to write this thing. Okay, so WordPress is telling me I’ve spent 151 words on the introduction, so let’s jump in.
(Be sure to hit “Read More”)

Twilight is genius.
Twilight is crap.
Twilight is both at the same time.
How is this even possible? It depends on how you look at it.

Let’s talk about what it has done right, first. Twilight is purely a marketing masterpiece. It’s a series of books that has just unfolded into an invincible money-making machine. No other book series that I know has levied such quality criticism, but this ship simply will not go down. I’m pretty sure Stephanie Meyer has an indoor pool, except instead of filling the pool with water, she probably fills it with hundred dollar bills. As an American business, you cannot help but admire her for being able to capture the hearts of almost every young female’s hearts. And as an aspiring future successful writer, I myself cannot help but admire her endless success.

She must be doing something right.

The way she has formed these characters to appeal to the desires of girls is the real genius behind this enterprise. She has formed Link Bella to be a blank slate that girls can project their own personalities on to. The overprotective father, the pain of loneliness and struggles with friends, and the difficulties of high school are just parts of the incredibly designed machine Stephanie Meyer has designed.
The main part of the machine, of course, is the design of the male main characters of the book. That is, of course, Edward and Jacob. 

Can I, Matt — a gentleman who has high Christian standards about sex (meaning no sex, or even sexual foreplay before marriage), knows the value of being kind to women, AND has been in a secure relationship with the love of my life for over three years — possibly live up to the qualities of Edward OR Jacob? Heck no. And neither can any other guy in the world. They exist somewhere outside of the realm of men. They are a creation of a female mind.

But I still file this under the “genius” category, because it really captures a girl’s desires when I comes to guys. I am not really alarmed, and am actually surprised that authors didn’t really try to take advantage of a girl’s heart in this area sooner.

So, now that we’ve gone over the things that Stephanie Meyer has done incredibly well, it’s time we drop the hammer on what is wrong with this thing.

I can define it in one phrase. It is so shallow. Twilight is one of the lowest quality series I have ever read/seen. 

I have Twilight and The Hunger Games sitting next to one another on my bookshelf for two reasons. One reason is that said girlfriend of over three years gave them both to me as gifts. The other reason is to remind me of the stark contrast between the two. Twilight is well-marketed poorly-written fluff. The Hunger Games is well-marketed well-written epicness. Twilight’s existence is to make girls feel good. The Hunger Games existence is to make a real impact on the world

Let me use some examples in my own life to try and help explain why Twilight is no good from an entertainment standpoint. 

Lately I have experienced many of the best times of my life by the various forms of media I have interacted with. Yesterday, I finished the masterpiece of a video game known as Kingdom Hearts 2. As I pursued my goals and continued the wonderful story, a though passed through my head. “Video games don’t get much better than this.” Earlier today, I revisited the classic episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called “The Best of Both Worlds.” As I approached that immortal cliffhanger (“Mr. Worf, fire!”) I could do nothing but think “TV doesn’t get much better than this.” And the kicker is this… as I sat reading Catching Fire (the second book of The Hunger Games franchise), in suspension for over 4 hours, I could only think “Books… do not get much better than this.”

Have I experienced that either reading or watching that with Twilight? Not hardly. Have any of you? Really? If you have, that’s fine, I simply want you understand where much of the quality concerns of Twilight comes from. 

And I know what you are thinking. “Well, you just don’t like it because it’s a chick flick.” To which I say…
“OBJECTION!”

I liked A Walk to Remember and P.S. I Love You to the point where I’d say chick flicks don’t get much better than that.

I guess my concluding request is that you consider why you like Twilight. What does it do to add to the culture of art we as America have created? Do you like it simply because everyone else does? Is that enough for you?

I think… I’m glad to see The Hunger Games gain so much popularity. Because I don’t really think Twilight deserves as much attention as it gets. 

But maybe that’s just me… 

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Matthew Estes

Matthew Estes currently exists in the ether between graudate student and full-time worker. One day he hopes to be a full-time novelist and blogger, but until that day comes he spends his time playing video games, eating pizza, and being with his soon-to-be wife. However, he has yet to do all three at the same time. Bucket list stuff, you know.